Writing Itinerary: 5K Word Day

5k-word-day-header

Back in the early days of this site, I wrote a blog post about this 5,000 words in a day writing schedule, and I thought I’d bring it up again here now that I’ve been reworking the site with the Writing Advice section. Those of you who enjoy regimented time tables to organize work flow might like this. It’s a good way to set-up a weekend or vacation day when you have some free time to write more.

5K WRITING ITINERARY:

7:45 – Eat breakfast, obtain coffee. Set up work space and open document.

8:00 – Go. Goal by 8:30 – 500 words.

8:30 – If 500 is not met, work in a prompt from the prompt bank below. Otherwise, prompt optional.

9:00 – Stop if past 1,000 words. Get up, stretch out, go for Food Reward #1. If not there, continue on until 1k is reached.

9:30 – Start again. Goal by 10 – 1,500 words.

10:30 – Stop if past 2,000 words. If not there, continue until 2k is reached. Get up, stretch out, walk away. Email, eat lunch, etc. etc.

1:00 – Go. Goal by 1:30 – 2,500 words.

1:30 – If 2,500 is not met, work in a prompt from the prompt bank below. Otherwise, prompt optional.

2:00 – Stop if past 3,000 words. If not there, continue until 3k is reached. Go for food reward #2.

2:20 – Go. Goal by 3 – 3,750 words.

3:00 – If 3,750 is not met, work in a prompt from the prompt bank below. Otherwise, prompt optional.

3:30 – Stop if past 4,300. If not there, continue until 4.3k is reached. Go get glass of alcohol. Consume.

4:00 – Go. Goal by 4:30 – 4,800 words.

4:30 – If 4,800 is not met, work in a prompt from the prompt bank below. Otherwise, prompt optional.

5:00 – Stop if past 5,000 words. IF not there, continue until 5k is reached. Get up, stretch out, walk away. Relax, get more alcohol, and food reward #3.

You’ve probably noticed by now that there are several references to prompts and food rewards. When I was initially shown this itinerary, there were suggested foods and a selection of prompts provided as well. I never used the food rewards, and I would say that really any type of reward works, so long as it’s not something that would take a ton of time out of the day and throw off the itinerary. If you need rewards to keep you on track, just figure out what those are and set them up for yourself.

I would also advise finding your own prompts. Writing prompts can be very genre or style specific. For instance, a prompt for a mystery would probably be very different from a prompt for a fantasy. You can Google writing prompts for your genre and use those. Alternatively, you could create your own set of prompts derived from your characters or themes. Just write out some bullet points for actions that fit your characters or scenarios you want to touch on. If you get stuck, you can refer to that list.

Finally, feel free to change the exact times listed. If you’re a night person, then move the schedule back to accommodate that. If there’s some major errand you have to run, but you’re free in the morning and at night, try taking a longer break in the middle of the day. Make the schedule work for you.

If you try this schedule, feel free to leave a comment and share whether or not it was helpful to you.

Bonus — a nice little graphic that encapsulates all of this!

5K word day

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6 thoughts on “Writing Itinerary: 5K Word Day

  1. This is a good schedule. I see where prompts can be useful in the event that output is slower than normal. There are definitely some times when my mind just isn’t translating the story well. I don’t use such a rigid schedule, but I, too, stop at certain intervals, usually scene or chapter breaks and I’ll eat, do some other therapy work, read, reach out to my network of friends online (my virtual support group) and then repeat until I feel I’m tapped out for the day. Usually I strive for a minimum of one chapter (or three scenes) per day if I’m writing a novel, or one chapter (usually a scene or two) of a novella, which I write while editing a novel. Sounds complicated, but it’s actually quit similar to your structure. Thanks for sharing.

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